Fresh off the factory floor, a modest airplane like a Piper Archer may be better built, but its basic performance has been baked into the airframe for years. That's why a project like Lyle Holbo's 1965 Cherokee 180C, our refurbed airplane of the month, will keep pace with an airplane 40 years newer.
Holbo bought the airplane in 2007, already recently repainted and equipped with a Garmin GNS430. He replaced that mapcomm with the WAAS version and rebuilt the airplane's Century II autopilot, adding an S-TEC pitch stabilization system to improve the autopilot's capability.
Last year, he opened up the panel and put in a two-screen Aspen EFD 1000 system with an external backup battery, plus an Avidyne TAS 600 system. He replaced the old Piper gauge cluster with a JPI EDM-930. Final touches include BAS shoulder harnesses for the front seats and Rosen visors in place of the original Piper sun visors.
We know what you're thinking: Isn't this, er, a bit much for a modest Cherokee? "While this upgrade project approximately doubled my investment in the aircraft, the investment is far less than that required for a new Archer, Cessna 172 SP, or Cirrus," says Holbo, "and I retain the reliability and low operating costs of the Cherokee." And we think that pretty well answers the question.
If you'd like to enter your airplane in AVweb's "Refurb of the Month," send us some photos and a short description of what you've done.